Conserving the Nature of America
Service Confirms Critical Habitat for Marbled Murrelet in Washington, Oregon and California

August 3, 2016


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

Marbled murrelet Credit: USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) confirmed that marbled murrelet critical habitat currently designated in Washington, Oregon and California meets the statutory definition of critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Critical habitat identifies specific areas within the geographic range of an ESA-listed species that are essential for its long-term survival.

The marbled murrelet is a small, robin-sized diving seabird that spends the majority of its time on the ocean resting and feeding, flying inland to nest in old growth forests. The Washington, Oregon and California population of marbled murrelets was federally listed as threatened under the ESA in 1992. Critical habitat was designated in 1996 and revised in 2011.

“We will continue to work with our federal, state and local partners and private landowners to address threats across the marbled murrelet’s range,” said Eric Rickerson, the Service’s Washington State Supervisor. “It’s our goal to continue to find collaborative solutions to conserving and recovering wildlife resources while supporting strong local economies.”

In response to litigation, the Service initiated a voluntary review of 3,698,100 acres of marbled murrelet critical habitat in 2015. This review evaluated whether and how the currently designated areas meet the legal definition of critical habitat. A 60-day comment period for the proposed rule opened Aug. 25, 2015. Based on a review of the best scientific data available and consideration of comments received, the Service determined that no changes to the proposed rule were appropriate.

With this final rule, the Service confirms that previously designated marbled murrelet critical habitat meets the statutory definition of critical habitat and remains valid. No changes have been made to the critical habitat designation, such as its boundaries or to areas that were previously excluded.

For more information about marbled murrelet, and to read the Federal Register notice, visit: For more information about critical habitat, visit:

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